Core Values


Our core values are essential to accomplishing our mission. They define what we do. Living these values is essential to our work at the School Performance Institute.


Core Value 1 | Get Proximate


Our golden rule is to observe and consult the people on the ground who know the most about the problem we are trying to fix. It is very difficult if not impossible to Find the Bright Spots without being proximate to the work. Too many education reforms come from people who haven’t spent much time in schools. Failing to fully appreciate the significance of context is one of the primary reasons good ideas fail. We approach issues of context not as externalities, but rather as the next critical problem to solve.


Core Value 2 | Do the Right Thing

SC1692-United Schools Network-Summerfield-03-14-14-649.jpg

We get excited by the opportunity to help others and in the process learn how to be better in this work. Our approach is as servant leaders who create long-term solutions for our clients, even if this is a much tougher road than easier, short-term fixes.


Core Value 3 | Think Small, Start Small


Big breakthroughs most often flow from small innovations, small designs, and small habits. In education, we often do the opposite; that is, rapid large-scale change under conditions least likely to produce success. We go fast and big and learn slowly. At SPI, we propose an alternative strategy of learning fast to implement well.


Core Value 4 | Find Bright Spots


Even in the most challenging environments, there are bright spots. In education, these are the teachers and school leaders who get results far exceeding what would be expected given the demographics of their students. We build on the capabilities of these bright spots by sharing with others who work within the same context and who face similar challenges.


Core Value 5 | Be Humble, Share Generously


To improve education, we need to commit to do two things: measure ourselves and be more open about what we are doing. We see failure as an opportunity to learn rather than a reason to cast blame. We see success as an opportunity to share and spread best practices to improve educational outcomes for all children.